A Safe Place to Call Home for Boston’s Needy

Jul 16, 2012

Every night, more than 7,000 men, women and children in the City of Boston have no place to call home. They lack decent wages and affordable housing. More than half of homeless adults suffer from mental health issues or substance abuse problems.

Pine Street Inn has been a place of refuge for Boston’s homeless residents since 1969. What started as a shelter for 200 men suffering from alcoholism has since expanded to serve 1,600 men and women each day and 11,000 people each year.

Lyndia Downie, president and executive director of Pine Street Inn, has watched the organization’s evolution over the last 30 years. She takes pride in its role as a leading social services provider.

“Pine Street Inn is really bigger than any of us,” said Downie. “It holds a very special place in the city; it is a place you can call home no matter what has happened in your life.”

The organization strives to build a respectful and hopeful environment for guests. Every day, its staff of 500 provides: housing for over 700 people, emergency shelter for 700 people, street outreach to 150 people. Job placement services are provided for an additional 400 job-seeking homeless men and women.

Among their guests is Thomas Newman, a recovering drug addict who is currently training as a chef at Pine Street Inn. Newman relies on several services provided by the organization, from counseling to job placement. He hopes to transition from short- to long-term housing in the coming months.

That, he knows, is the ultimate goal of Pine Street Inn – to make permanent housing a reality for all.

“In addition to just feeding people and clothing people and providing temporary shelter, we now have a permanent solution to homelessness, which is moving people into housing,” said Jean McCarthy, a member of the organization’s daytime outreach team. “Pine Street Inn’s really leading the way in Boston and with other agencies across the nation, by solving homelessness instead of just managing it.”

Bank of America has been a partner of Pine Street Inn for 25 years. It provides general operating support and organizes essential volunteer activities. Bank funding enabled Pine Street Inn to purchase its first outreach van and start new small businesses.

The bank’s investment is due, in part, to its shared mission. In communities across the country, bank employees are helping people secure and maintain permanent housing.

“Bank of America has been a true partner in this effort,” said Downie. “Both in ending homelessness and making sure people can get through another day.”

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